A number of recent and fatal car crashes involving members of the Penn State community has inspired students enrolled in a public relations campaign course to speak out about the dangers of reckless and careless driving in State College, namely at the intersection of Atherton Street and Park Avenue. Penn State will host a public awareness event on Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the aforementioned intersection in hopes of keeping the memory of the recent tragedies alive in the minds of both drivers and pedestrians in State College.
The event has come to fruition through the efforts of the College of Communications, the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, and the State College Police Department, as well as the students involved in the class. The student representatives plan to hand out surveys to pedestrians not only to raise awareness, but also to attempt to come up with solutions that will help prevent future vehicle-related fatalities.
The tragedies that inspired the event have all occurred as recently as the last two years; the first in July 2014 when Eva O’Brian was involved in a jogging accident after crossing the intersection of Atherton St. and Park Ave. against the signal. A similar accident occurred in June 2015 on Park Avenue when Joel Reed was struck by a car while riding his motorized scooter. Most recently, Michael Eieben was killed while crossing the intersection of Atherton and Curtin Road this September, the investigation of which is still ongoing.
While the State College Borough recognizes that the intersection presents a concern and has already made several changes, success in improving safety at the intersection will come only through acknowledgement from both drivers and pedestrians. In the wake the tragedy involving Tally Sepot, the Penn State community is inspired to raise awareness about the importance of cautious and careful driving.